The Info List - Toronto Symphony Orchestra

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The TORONTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (TSO) is a Canadian orchestra based in Toronto
, Ontario. Founded in 1922, the TSO gave regular concerts at Massey Hall
Massey Hall
until 1982, and since then has performed at Roy Thomson Hall. The TSO also manages the Toronto
Symphony Youth Orchestra (TSYO). Peter Oundjian
Peter Oundjian
became the TSO's music director in 2003.


* 1 History * 2 Music directors * 3 References * 4 External links


The TSO was founded in 1922 as the New Symphony Orchestra, and gave its first concert at Massey Hall
Massey Hall
in April 1923 with 58 musicians. The first conductor was Luigi von Kunits, and that season there were twenty concerts, as well as a performance at a spring festival.

In the summer of 1924, the symphony performed at the Canadian National Exhibition. Shortly thereafter, the TSO began holding children's concerts. The orchestra changed its name to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra
in 1927. In 1929, the TSO made its radio debut with a one-hour broadcast on CBC Radio from the Arcadian Court of Simpson's department store.

After von Kunits' death in 1931, conductor and composer Ernest MacMillan served as music director for 25 years. Peter Oundjian conducts Toronto
Symphony Orchestra, Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto, June 2014

The orchestra had made headlines for its hiring practices in 1951, when it declined to renew the contracts of musicians, thereafter known as the Symphony Six who had been denied entry to the United States on suspicion of communist activities, during the McCarthy Era.

Andrew Davis was the TSO's music director from 1975 to 1988, and then was given the title of conductor laureate with the TSO.

The orchestra had financial and audience size problems in the 1990s, and in 1992 TSO musicians had accepted a 16% pay cut because of a threat of bankruptcy to the orchestra, with a promise from management to make up the loss in subsequent contract negotiations. By 1999, this pay restoration had not happened, which led to an 11-week musicians' strike that autumn. Relations between the musicians and management deteriorated, and the music director at the time, Jukka-Pekka Saraste , offered to serve as mediator in the situation. In addition, there was a lack of public sympathy to the orchestra musicians' situation.

By 2001, the orchestra had debt of $7 million (Canadian), and both executive director Ed Smith and music director Saraste had left the ensemble.

Peter Oundjian
Peter Oundjian
was appointed as music director in January 2003 and became music director with the 2004–2005 season. The 2005 documentary film Five Days in September: The Rebirth of an Orchestra (Canada, 2005) recorded the first days of the TSO's inaugural season with Oundjian as its new music director. His most recent TSO contract extension was through the 2017-2018 season. He is scheduled to conclude his TSO tenure at the close of the 2017-2018 season.

By the 2006–2007 season, the subscriber base had increased to about 25,000, and the audience average capacity also increased to 84%. In November 2008, the orchestra reported its third consecutive year of budget surpluses, with average audience attendance of 88% (excluding concerts for schoolchildren), although the orchestra still retains overall debt of $8.9 million (Canadian).

In April 2015, controversy ensued after the TSO cancelled the appearance of Valentina Lisitsa , citing Twitter postings by her in relation to the conflict in Ukraine which were seen as conducive to 'public incitement of hatred' under the Criminal Code of Canada. In January 2017, the TSO announced its participation in the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Canada
, with a cross-country celebration of Canadian music and musicians to involve 40 orchestras and as many as 60 new commissions called " Canada
Mosaic" and funded by the Canadian government.


* Luigi von Kunits (1922–1931) * Sir Ernest MacMillan (1931–1956) * Walter Susskind (1956–1965) * Seiji Ozawa
Seiji Ozawa
(1965–1969) * Karel Ančerl
Karel Ančerl

* Victor Feldbrill (1973–1978) * Sir Andrew Davis (1975–1988) * Günther Herbig (1988–1994) * Jukka-Pekka Saraste
Jukka-Pekka Saraste
(1994–2001) * Peter Oundjian
Peter Oundjian


* ^ A B C D Vyhnak, Carola. "Birth of the Toronto
Symphony Orchestra". Toronto
Star, 14 June 2015, page A12. * ^ William Littler for the Toronto
Star. May 8, 2015. The TSO’s Englishman in Toronto * ^ " Toronto
Symphony negotiations hit sour note". CBC News. 25 September 1999. Retrieved 2008-11-08. * ^ Warren, Richard, It Begins With The Oboe. University of Toronto Press (Toronto, 2002; ISBN 978-0-8020-3588-2 ), pp. 209–2